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recollections of the past written by participants in or contemporaries of certain events. Memoirs are based on the author’s personal experience, as interpreted in terms of his own point of view and the sociopolitical views of the time. The basic source of information for memoirs is the author’s memory of what he lived through, but in addition, various documentation, diaries, letters, the press, and other sources are sometimes used. Many memoirs are literary works of a special genre, to which autobiographies and travel notes also belong.

Some memoirs, such as J. J.Rousseau’s Confessions and A. I. Herzen’s My Past and Thoughts, are outstanding artistic works. Memoirs are often used as a means of political and ideological struggle, in which reactionary historical figures resort to distorting the truth (for example, O. von Bismarck’s Thoughts and Remembrances and S. lu. Witte’s Memoirs).

Memoirs are historical sources that reflect political and military history, cultural life, everyday life, and social mores. In historical scholarship their value depends on their specificity and on the degree to which they convey the author’s personal attitude toward the events in which he participated. However,the subjectivity and tendentiousness of memoirs complicates the work of the researcher.

Works similar to memoirs were written in antiquity (Xenophon’s Ana basis and Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars). There are a number of medieval works similar to memoirs—chiefly chronicles, biographies, and hagiographies containing notes on what the authors observed. Memoirs in their modern form emerged during the Renaissance, which recognized the historical importance of the human personality and individual experience. In the 18th through 20th centuries a large, heterogeneous, and wide-ranging memoir literature was produced, primarily by political, military, cultural, and scholarly figures.

In Russia memoirs as a literary genre flowered in the 18th century. Since the Great October Socialist Revolution, as a result of the democratization of culture and other spheres of public life, people from various strata of Soviet society have written memoirs. Many memoirs are devoted to the October Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918-20, the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), and other very important events in the history of the USSR.

Writing memoirs demands truthfulness, precision, and clarity of class evaluations. In the USSR a number of memoir series are being published, including Military Memoirs (Voennizdat), About Life and About Ourselves (Politizdat), and Literary Memoirs (Khudozhestvennaia Literatura Publishing House).


Mintslov, S. R. Obzor zapisok, dnevnikov, vospominanii, pisem iputeshestvii, otnosiashchikhsia k istorii Rossii i napechatannykh na russkom iazyke, fascs. 1-5. Novgorod, 1911-12.
Istoriia sovetskogo obshchestva v vospominaniiakh sovremennikov, vols. 1-2 (fascs. 1-2). Moscow, 1958-67.
Kardin, V. Segodnia o vcherashnem: Memuary i sovremennost’ Moscow, 1961.
Chernomorskii, M. N. Rabota nad memuarami pri izuchenii istorii KPSS, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
Kurnosov, A. A. “Priemy vnutrennei kritiki memuarov.”In Istochnikovedenie: Teoreticheskie i metodicheskie problemy. Moscow, 1969.
Golubtsov, V. S. Memuary kak istochnikpo istorii sovetskogo obshchestva. Moscow, 1970.
Ginzburg, L. la. O psikhologicheskoi proze. Leningrad, 1971.
Istochnikovedenie istorii SSSR. Moscow, 1973.
References in periodicals archive ?
During an interview in November, Obama hinted on what stories from her past she included in her memoir.
Known as "Pittsburgh's Mark Twain," Jay Speyerer is one of the Pittsburgh region's most popular memoir writing coaches.
Karr's] classroom and listening to her smart, wisecracking voice as she reveals the secrets of her own writing, breaks down the key elements of great literary memoirs and dispenses valuable practical advice.
While the memoirs provide a very useful resource for anyone studying the First World War they're also a very engaging read in their own right.
This section of the memoir sketches Dembowski's extensive family history, but one difficulty is the desire to tell all their stories, which crowds the narrative with excessive details: grandparents, aunts, cousins, siblings, and neighbors come and go with alarming rapidity.
In any case, The Drone Eats With Me, by Atef Abu Saif, is a war memoir for our era and deserves any prize recognition.
Molly MacCarthy's memoirs were the first of the papers to be published (serialized in The Nation by Leonard Woolf and subsequently in the book A Nineteenth Century Childhood in 1924).
Augusten Burroughs, author of memoirs Running with Scissors and Dry, and Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild and the voice behind the Rumpus's beloved "Dear Sugar" column, will present readings of their work, followed by a discussion moderated by columnist and commentator Bob Morris, author of the memoir Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad.
I wonder how you would apply this maxim to President Barack Obama's memoirs using "composite" characters?
16 ( ANI ): Former First Ladies in Arab countries are publishing their memoirs to audiences who have a keen interest in reading about what the once-powerful women have to say, a new phenomenon started after the Arab spring.
Journalists penning compelling memoirs is not new; but what is new is the growth of the genre and the evolution into several subsets of memoir.
10 -- As a boy in Calcutta in the 1970s, I would often hear of a book of memoirs written by an Indian.